Wait for it…

December 12, 2005

Another week, another record mileage total. Cool. I’m going to back off just a bit for a week now. My legs have felt good, but my feet were feeling almost arthritic. Just some stiffness in my big toe and the ball of both feet, but it was continuous throughout the day regardless of the distance. Anyway, I cut my 25 mile Sunday run down to 10, and my Monday from 12 to 9, and my feet already feel totally recovered. Surprisingly, however, my legs feel like crap. Surely there is a reason for this. If anyone has an insight into this phenomenon, please leave a comment.

I was reading Zeke’s blog on Friday about how he is doing a cut-back week, and that sounded like a good idea given the way my feet had been feeling and the way that I had built up in the first place (65-94-102-104), but I am having second thoughts now having re-read some Lydiard and thinking about the physical experiences of the past two days. One of Lydiard’s big ideas is ‘keep up the pressure’. I think it is meant to apply to both to daily runs as well as in the continuity over time of the daily runs, or consistency. I have the impression Mr. Lydiard would prefer the time of the run stay the same, but the pace be adjusted upward to achieve the desired recovery. Physically, I can sense that this is what my legs and mind would have preferred, because my legs feel tired and stiff after two days of cut-back, my resting pulse is actually up to 51 and 50 where it was 48 for the four days preceeding the cut-back, and I’m finding myself worried that I’ve reached a couple of goals, become somewhat satisfied with myself, and I’m subconsciously wussing out.

I think identifying that possibility here is probably going to help me get through it without sacrificing any of the work I’ve done over the last several weeks and months by taking a cut-back and turning it into a few (or more than a few) days off. One of the stated purposes of this blog is to hold me accountable to my plan, however undefined and loose it may be. The plan is basically this…I know I was a fairly good runner ten years ago, and I’m confident I didn’t reach my potential then, so if I’m going to try to reach it, I need to do it now. I can’t do anything about the ten prime years that went by, but I can try to make good use of the ten or so that I have left*.

Alright, that’s a lot of blubbering, but there are some defining details in there about me the person and what I’m trying to achieve with these efforts. Maybe interesting, maybe not. So let’s recap the week:

Sunday: 25 miles
Monday: 10 miles
Tuesday: 17 miles
Wednesday: 11 miles
Thursday: 17 miles
Friday: 12 miles
Saturday: 12 miles
Total: 104 miles in 7 sessions

I think my cut-back week is over. I’m feeling better overall doing what I was doing the last few weeks, so I’m going to stick with that, knowing that I can adjust my intensity in order to recover if needed. Also I need to be more liberal with the ice and ibuprofen, probably moreso with the ice. Plenty of that here in North Dakota. Cheers!

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*Not to say that running performance falls off a cliff and dies at 42, just noting that it is a pretty good bet it will be very tough to improve on the results I would be able to achieve at, say age 36 or 38 after several years of Lydiard training.

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Less Than Zero…

December 4, 2005

Okay, not quite less than zero. It was just zero, as in degrees, when I ran this morning. Nonetheless, I put one foot in front of the other for three hours and got the job done. Today was the toughest of the three three-hour runs I have done. I’m sure the temperature had something to do with it. Even with the technical gear, everything gets wet, then cold, then frozen. Anyway, the sun was shining and there was very little wind, which made for a psychological lift. It felt like a great day for a long run.

Ah, time for the week in review. It was a great week! I knocked out another of my longtime goals, which was to run 100 miles in a week. High mileage was not something that was encouraged by my coach during my college days, so the closest I ever got was 86, and that was during the summer build-up. Winter weather makes it a bit more difficult to do 100 mile weeks, which I guess make it an even better goal. I hit 102 miles for the seven day period on Wednesday of last week, and finished with 102 for the official week total (Sunday to Saturday). So, yay me. Even cooler is that I did it in seven runs. That is one aspect of the 100 mile week goal that I never anticipated. I had run enough 70-80 mile weeks in 10 sessions that I always thought 100 was going to include 3-4 two run days and some seriously sore legs. Also, I had expected a long build up starting at 50 and hitting 100 in maybe 6-8 weeks, if I didn’t get injured first. Two things that completely changed my perpective are 1) Run first thing in the morning, and 2) Slow down. Running in the morning has been invaluable as a strategy. There is just no way I could (nor would I likely want to) do this volume of running after working all day. I’m a morning person now. Slowing down the pace, even by 20-30 seconds per mile has made a huge difference in the way my legs feel. I can easily recover from any of my runs in time for the next day. Even the three-hour runs. Prior to this, I would often run 6:30 to 6:40 per mile for less than an hour, and usually feel beat up for the next run. Two-hour runs would wipe me out for most of the rest of the day. That just doesn’t happen anymore. It’s very cool.

Sunday :: 24 in 2:56:12
Monday :: 11 in 1:21:44
Tuesday :: 16 in 2:00:12
Wednesday :: 12 in 1:26:08
Thursday :: 16 in 1:56:20
Friday :: 11 in 1:20:27
Saturday :: 12 in 1:23:11
Total :: 102 in 12:24:14 (7:18 pace)

Legs still feel good, but the cold sometimes leaves my knees a bit creaky feeling. The heavy feeling has gone now. On to week four…